We Americans recently survived another "most important election" of our lifetimes that lasted over 18 months and did little but assaulting our ears and intelligence. The campaigns tied-up valuable resources and distracted the nation from the real problems: chronic underemployment, wide-spread low wages, increasing health insurance deductibles, and the overall deterioration of our education system and respect for human rights as best illustrated by the hateful campaign rhetoric of candidate Trump that apparently perfectly resonated with many voters.
In the midst of all this, similar to previous elections, we progressives were tasked with the responsibility to help the Democratic Party succeed. There was apparently no other way, and increasing party performance was somehow not an option. Therefore, our votes had to be sacrificed, at the expense of exercising our right to vote freely. When we questioned how many times we were supposed to vote for someone against our conscience as in the case of voting for candidate Clinton, our fellow Democrats told us that this time it was different; that Mr. Trump was very dangerous and could overturn much of the progress we made as a country. If voters complied, coincidentally, the Democratic Party would have benefited from it; one of the two parties that brought us to where we were by successfully keeping out competition and effectively silencing third parties. However, the situation was allegedly so pressing that no responsible citizen could possibly choose otherwise. In the 2016 elections, this statement was and still is most likely true. However, that is why the Democratic Party leaders should have not cried wolf at every election.
By the time November 2016 came, it was already too late. Individuals for whom the message was intended were too desensitized by hearing it over and over again; rightly so, because they were fooled by the Democratic Party too many times. Therefore, many progressives refused to comply. Many of them voted their conscience, instead of voting for the "lesser of the two evils." Additionally, only approximately 58 percent of the registered voters turned out to vote. In 14 states, more people voted for the senate races than for the presidency. Among them were 87,810 voters in Michigan who cast a ballot, but did not cast a vote for president. Of the voters who voted for president, approximately half voted for Secretary Clinton and the other half for president-elect Donald Trump. Among the voters for Ms. Clinton were many Republicans who simply could not bring themselves to vote for a racist, sexist Donald Trump. Among the voters were also progressives who voted for Secretary Clinton, not because she was their candidate, but because she was the "lesser of the two evils." However, Secretary Clinton and subsequently, the Democratic Party, still lost.
Instead of taking the time to reflect and admit just how low the Party must have sunk for this scenario -- having one of the most qualified individuals running for president against an unfit, openly racist Donald Trump and still losing -- to happen, supporters and leaders were quick to point fingers at anyone else, but themselves. Ms. Clinton and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid blamed the FBI Director Mr. Comey. Frustrated Democrats blamed their fellow Democrats and other progressives for not voting for Ms. Clinton. However, the winner of the blame game was the frustration over Donald Trump losing the popular vote, but still becoming the president-elect. Subsequently, initiatives to get rid of the Electoral College followed. Even though due to its racist roots, discussions about the Electoral College are well granted, the context of the discussion is troubling -- ensuring that the Democratic Party secures its place as a winner at all cost, without having to improve conduct or performance.
To date, Americans continue to be successfully entertained and distracted in this manner. We will see how long the situation continues before this distraction fades and another emerges, while the middle class continues to deteriorate, the two leading parties do little to get back in touch with their voters, and a President Donald Trump and his cabinet overturns progress made by many decades.
However, regardless of what happens in the next four years, for losing this election, the Democratic Party leaders have no one to blame but themselves.
Ms. Dudek is a former member of the Democratic Party in Michigan. She has actively campaigned for many progressive candidates and volunteered for the Democratic Party in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She pursued public office in Washington, D.C. in 2010. She regularly contributes to various German and English-language sources such as Huffington Post and The Hill. A Boren Forum alumna, Ms. Dudek received The National Security Education Program (NSEP) award in 2014.